Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Lowell Sun

The Folk Report
The pros and cons of this year's festival
Updated: 07/29/2009 09:11:02 AM EDT

Now in its 23rd year, the Lowell Folk Fest is all grown up. From its first grass-roots note to the giant, thriving, weekend-long bash, each year ushers in a host of new acts and inevitable changes. Some we applaud, some leave us wondering. All we take with a grain of salt. This is our festival too and our annual report of LFF '09 takes a constructive look at the last weekend in July.

What worked:

* From Tuvan throat singers to Irish reels, the variety of music was very strong.

* The Folk Festival Web site was updated with parking lot closures all weekend. Helpful to the out-of-town visitor.

* Signers at Boarding House Park prove this festival has a heart and cares about the hard-of-hearing.

* Musical workshops are a true educational experience that continue to draw scholars and amateurs alike.

* Food was available in different areas, not just one food court and there were plenty of bathrooms.

* The Sabra hummus Mediterranean area offered free samples and comfortable seating on a hot day.

* The Shattuck Street family area, especially the drumming area, was a hit with the small set.

* The face painter in the Art in the Courtyard area made every kid look like he or she had just stepped off stage in character as Batgirl or the Incredible Hulk.

* Mayor Edward "Bud" Caulfield leading the opening night parade, a colorful wave streaming out of JFK Plaza, stirred the civic-pride juices.

* The flag-raising ceremony added ethnic flair to Friday's opening and should become a regular tradition.

* Dedicated clean-up crews kept the site looking tidy despite the crowds.

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